Reporter dealing with immigration, drug trafficking and national security
Nick Miroff Reporter dealing with immigration, drug trafficking and national security October 24 at 19:07 President Trumps attempt to clear…
President Trumps attempt to clear political sign on Democrats for a caravan of thousands of Central American immigrants heading to the United States has hidden growing concerns within the White House about how to deal with a possible unrivaled massage at the southern border.
Trump and his assistants have been convened at a high level, emergency meetings in an effort to mount an effective response to stopping the loosely organized group of men, women and children moving slowly through Mexico. The primary focus has been on pushing the Mexican authorities to spread the migrants, but the president has also helped to develop a more powerful plan to hold the group into the United States, several administrative officials said with the knowledge of the deliberations.  “They will not succeed in entering the United States illegally no matter what, in any case,” State Secretary Mike Pompeo told reporters this week saying that he had talked twice with his Mexican counterpart Luis Videgaray since meeting in Mexico City last week.
It was far from clear when the caravan, which is still very fluid and unorganized, should reach the United States. One day after the United Nations, the group estimated 7,200, Mexican officials said on Wednesday that it was about half as big as 3,630, and added that they had treated more than 1700 refugee claims.
The cart, which originates in Honduras, is traveling mainly on foot, which means that their arrival to the US-Mexico border can still be weeks away. With no formal leadership, the group could also thin out and break along the road, experts said, with some of the migrants who choose different ways: left in Mexico, take alternative roads or give up and go home. This would make the situation more manageable for US authorities.
“The target is the highest pressure on Mexico,” said a Trump administrative official, considering anonymity to describe sensitive negotiations.
“I think we will know in the next 48 hours whether to do something or not,” said the official, stressing that immigrants are getting harder to turn back as they move deeper into Mexico.
But Roberta Jacobson, who served as the US ambassador to Mexico from June 2016 to this in May, noted that President Enrique Peña Nieto has only one month left in the office. The incoming administration of Left Andrés Manuel López Obrador has said that it wants to focus on promoting development in Central America, not border surveillance tactics.
“There is obviously not much incentive to do something that is truly radical, which will be very unpopular, because more powerful actions would be”, said Jacobson.
Senior Trump Administration officials have expressed alarm over the images of the week of migrants who break past a security gate in northern Guatemala and flow across a bridge, with some jumping in and flowing through a river to enter Mexico.
Trump said that the scene was “heartbreak on both sides” and added that it “spelled out to Congress: Something has to be done. This may not happen.”
Although the caravan size is still relatively small compared to with the total number of unauthorized immigrants arrested every month at the southern border in the United States, more than 50,000 were detained in September, according to the Ministry of Home Affairs – Thousands of arrival in a single group, with a fake of international journalists in the trailer, could create a humanitarian challenge and a political crisis for the White House.
It may also be a strong leap if Trump is in favor of threatening to force a partial state shutdown over a congressional fund fight for its border wall during the congressional show after the pocket after the Midsummer election.
Democrats warned that Trump fanned public fears by exaggerating the threats of immigrants; The president has acknowledged that he has not seen any evidence to support his public allegations that criminals and potential terrorists are among the caravan.
Amy Pope, as a security adviser in the Obama administration, helped coordinate an emergency response with an increase in unaccompanied minors in 2014, said that the American caravan is not a national security threat.
“These are not people who attack the border,” she said. “They present themselves [to Border Patrol agents] and make a case for asylum. I think the best solutions are those we work with Mexico to find a way to deal with the identification of people who are to get asylum.”
Trump’s response So far, she added, was “more about message and politics” to rally his conservative base before the midterm.
In Twitter reports this week, Trump has suggested that he consider sending military troops to the border and cutting financial support to Guatemala and Honduras, and perhaps Mexico, to stop the caravan. Up to 2100 national security forces have been deployed to the border mission in support roles after the president approved the move in the spring, but it is unclear whether Trump is looking to add more janitors or use other military assets.
Officials at the State Department and Pentagon said that this week has not received any new directives from the White House.
Behind the scenes, senior officials acknowledged that such movements would have minimal impact to stop the overall flows of Central Americans.
In the fiscal year ending last month, US authorities arrested 107,212 Central American family members at the southern border and wiped out the former high 77,000 by 2016. The experts said the surplus was driven by deteriorating conditions in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, including gang violence , organized crime, poverty and hunger.
But Trump aides blamed US laws because they were easy to allow Central American families to remain in the United States saying that the only solution to stamp the nailing limits would be for Congress to change the laws to speed up the deportations.
According to the law, families and unaccompanied minors from countries not bordering on the United States are offered greater legal protection than those from Mexico or Canada. In most cases, after applying for asylum, they are released into the interior of the country while they are waiting for a hearing before an immigration judge – a process that may take more than a year due to massive delays.
“The administration wants the ability to return to all Central American families, including minors, after being arrested,” said a senior administrative officer during a background interview with journalists. By doing so, the official would add a strong dissuasive message that would discourage others from trying to cost a dangerous journey.
“If we could do that, there is no border crisis,” said the official.
But humanitarian groups disputed this strategy. In 2000, about 95 percent of immigrants were arrested at the border with Mexico, most of them single men seeking work, according to DHS officials. Last month, almost 50 percent of the immigrants were detained in Central America, most families with children, officials said.
Wendy Young, Executive Director of Children in Need of Defense, said the federal laws were adopted to
“The immigration system can not be a size that suits everyone,” she said.
Josh Dawsey, Dan Lamothe and Carol Morello contributed to this report.